Brown Ale blind taste testing

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by geodonnokepyo, Apr 30, 2017.

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  1. geodonnokepyo

    geodonnokepyo Disciple (388) Oct 31, 2013 Pennsylvania

    After our hefeweizen tasting we went straight into a brown ale tasting. :sunglasses:
    This one was a little different since I included both American and English style brown ales.
    I included only what was easily available in my area. (Pittsburgh)
    I would have liked to include some others such as Bells Best Brown (not in season), Jackie O's, Cigar City, and Against the Grain (can would have been hard to make blind amongst all the bottles) but 15 brown ales was enough probably.
    We split this into two rounds since there wasn't enough room on our table for all the cups.
    Here is what was included:

    Round 1:

    Full Pint Little Brown
    Voodoo Wynona's Big Brown Ale
    He'Brew Messiah
    New Holland Cabin Fever
    Dogfish Head Indian Brown
    Saugatuck Bonfire Brown
    Alesmith Nut Brown

    Round 2:

    Sam Smith's Nut Brown Ale
    Avery Ellie's Brown Ale
    Dark Horse Boffo Brown Ale
    Short's Bellaire Brown
    Smuttynose Old Brown Dog
    Brooklyn Brown Ale
    Newcastle Brown Ale
    Duck Rabbit Brown Ale

    Here is a picture:


    The results were varied
    Some of the beers were predominantly roasty, some were chocolaty, some took on some hazelnut flavors, and others were a fine balance between malts and hops. So I guess it all depends which specific flavor profile you are feeling at a given point in time to pick a favorite.
    That being said, there wasn't really a clear winner between the seven of us but if I had to choose, based on how many 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place votes it got, it would be New Holland's Cabin Fever.
    This one fell into the hazelnut category.
    Others that were received well included: He'Brew Messiah, Dark Horse Boffo Brown, Sam Smith Nut Brown, and Brooklyn Brown.
    The Newcastle was near the bottom of the bunch, which is not a big surprise.

    So, I will leave you with a question. What's your favorite brown ale?

    ... and if you're interested in how our hefeweizen tasting went, check this link:
  2. Fordcoyote15

    Fordcoyote15 Savant (956) Nov 19, 2011 Kentucky

    I'm digging these threads. Where in the pitt area are you? I'm from beaver county and would be up to share some from my cellar if you're doing more of these
  3. Giantspace

    Giantspace Champion (818) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Bells best 16oz cans

    By far my go to fall brown

  4. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (9,847) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    Same day, same folks, two tastings? Talk about taste-bud challenge! Hopefully rested a bit in-between.

    As far as favorite brown - Lakefront My Turn - Mike, a hazelnut brown. It was limited production, but is still on some shelves. Incredible hazelnut taste. The My Turn series is an opportunity for Lakefront staff to come up with their own brews. Hopefully this one eventually becomes a regular.

  5. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,482) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Upslope brown ale and telluride face down brown are both high on my list, both a bit chocolate and coffee forward.
  6. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Zealot (550) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    Salud. I have a Short's Bellaire in my glass, and it's damp and cold outside. i.e. Perfect weather for cracking open a brown ale
  7. geodonnokepyo

    geodonnokepyo Disciple (388) Oct 31, 2013 Pennsylvania

    About to move to Bloomfield. I get around to these tastings every now and then. We've done Imperial stouts, Scotch Ales, and I think IPAs in the past. I was considering doing Flanders Red sometime but that might take a while to gather enough and also could be a little expensive for the Belgians. But any sort of bottle share is always a good time.
  8. Tripel_Threat

    Tripel_Threat Poo-Bah (2,873) Jun 29, 2014 Michigan
    Society Trader

    Bellaire Brown is my favorite, but I'd follow that up with Cabin Fever for sure, and Best Brown.
    If we're talking about variations on a brown ale, Short's London Fog (English Brown with Earl Gray, lactose, and vanilla) or Chickenbach Brown (American brown with coffee) are up there as well as Blackrock's Coconut Brown.
    Gemini6 and Zaphog like this.
  9. HermitDan

    HermitDan Disciple (354) Apr 30, 2016 New Jersey

    1. Palo Santo
    2. Sam Smith's
    3. Rogue Hazelnut Brown
    Bitterbill and TheDoctor like this.
  10. matcris

    matcris Meyvn (1,184) Sep 17, 2015 Arizona

    I love Bell's Best when the Fall air is crisp, and the mutton is nice and lean...:slight_smile: Just tried AleSmith's Nut Brown. That was pretty nice. On the sweeter side, but nice. And I've enjoyed a CC Maduro Brown on occasion, too.
    Gemini6 likes this.
  11. EvilMidnightBomber

    EvilMidnightBomber Initiate (100) Feb 12, 2015 Wisconsin

    Would love to say it's one of my locals (Tyranena Rocky's Revenge, Ale Asylum Madtown Nutbrown or New Glarus Fat Squirrel, all of which are really good), but I have to say my favorite is probably 4 Hands Cast Iron Oatmeal Brown Ale. The Saugatuck Snow Wizard I had this weekend at the brewery was pretty good too.
    Only had maybe a quarter of the beers from the blind tasting, but of the one's I've had I know I liked Ellie's Brown Ale a lot. Will have the find the New Holland one if it's available locally.
    BigJim5021 likes this.
  12. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (9,847) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    Being in Wisconsin you may still be able to find Lakefront My Turn Mike, a phenomenal hazelnut brown.
  13. akolb

    akolb Initiate (0) Aug 8, 2015 Colorado

    As far as American Brown Ales (non imperial), I'm partial to Upslope Brown Ale and DFH Indian Brown.
  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,654) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It is not a ‘standard’ Brown Ale but just a heads up that Founders Sumatra Mountain Brown is out now (a May-June seasonal). That beer is excellent IMO.

    HermitDan, Zaphog, Daveshek28 and 2 others like this.
  15. geodonnokepyo

    geodonnokepyo Disciple (388) Oct 31, 2013 Pennsylvania

    Right on man. Yea I've enjoyed that one too. I have a couple still left from last year as well.
  16. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,162) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    CCB Maduro has been my favorite brown that I've tried recently.

    I wish Long Trail Hit the Trail was still around so I could compare it. Loved that beer.
    rgordon likes this.
  17. dcw6363

    dcw6363 Initiate (80) Nov 11, 2009 Utah

    But that's not what he said! He distinctly said "to blave"
    matcris likes this.
  18. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,430) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    My choice of those available locally is Bell's Brown.
    Gemini6 likes this.
  19. Wasatch

    Wasatch Poo-Bah (6,842) Jun 8, 2005 Colorado
    Society Trader

    Very nice list. Having this one right now, really tasty, surprised me.

    The Brown Note | Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse

  20. spelingchampeon

    spelingchampeon Meyvn (1,070) Feb 21, 2016 Delaware
    Society Trader

    I second this.. it's my go to.

    A close 2nd is Bell's Best Brown.
    I did have a couple Cabin Fever's this past weekend and thought they were excellent. I'd put it in my top 5. Other browns I like (among others) are Brooklyn, Duck Rabbit and DFH IBA.

    For what it's worth, I didn't like Rogue Hazlenut, Avery or Smuttynose my 1st time through. I am however not one to judge a brew by it's 1st sitting.. I have them on my list for a 2nd try.

    Thanks for the taste test OP!!
    Wasatch likes this.
  21. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,323) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Yes. Upslope Brown. A go to.
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  22. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (7,323) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Stand Down Brown from Uberbrew and BitchCreek from Grand Teton are worthy of seeking out.
  23. Scott17Taylor

    Scott17Taylor Poo-Bah (1,778) Oct 28, 2013 Iowa
    Society Trader

    make that 4 for upslope, it's just unfortunate they don't distribute to me. Against the grain brown note is also very good.
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  24. eldoctorador

    eldoctorador Crusader (778) Dec 12, 2014 Chile

    If you want to know how every "craft" beer from my country (Chile) taste like, try Bell's Best Brown.
    ecpho and zid like this.
  25. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (2,211) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale is my favorite brown ale so far, and it's among the ones featured here. My second and third favorites are Bell's Best Brown Ale and Ithaca Nut Brown Ale, respectively.

    Also, Indian Brown is labeled as a Dark IPA now? :astonished:
  26. BigJim5021

    BigJim5021 Zealot (512) Sep 2, 2007 Indiana

    Since a lot of very good browns have already been mentioned, I'm gonna throw some love to a beer that I've had access to for over a decade, but only just tried the other night: Abita Turbodog. It's a really nice English brown from a brewery that I admittedly don't drink very often.

    Oh, and here's an obligatory "Sierra Nevada should bring back Tumbler in 6s and 12s in the Fall" post. Preferably in cans. Paging @sierranevadabill
  27. meb3476

    meb3476 Aspirant (211) Apr 1, 2013 Massachusetts

    HF George
    Good Measure Hunter's Moon
    Marshall Wharf Phil
    Foundation Burnside
  28. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (257) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    Kind of jealous.
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  29. eldoctorador

    eldoctorador Crusader (778) Dec 12, 2014 Chile


    It's not that great when even IPAs taste like that
    spelingchampeon likes this.
  30. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (257) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    Well our IPAs no longer taste like beer and more like OJ milkshakes. Hopefully you have some time before your craft beer goes in that direction.
    eldoctorador and SFACRKnight like this.
  31. Daveshek28

    Daveshek28 Initiate (188) Nov 10, 2015 New York

    It's a tough one between Founder's Sumatra and Cigar City Cubano Espresso.
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